Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Ephesians | Session 26 | 5:26-27

In our study today from Ephesians 5:26-27 we address the issue of who is speaking, the difference between interpretation and application, and that these verses are not talking about water baptism or that the church is the Bride of Christ.


Verse 26: That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, According to the previous verses, the he here is a reference to Christ. This brings a bit of a different interpretation to everything that he has said since verse 22. As we will see in verse 32, the entire context is Christ's relationship to his church with marriage as an example.

The point is that Christ was willing to lay down his life so that the church could be sanctified and cleansed. Of course, application can certainly be made regarding the husbands responsibility toward his wife also. It is his spiritual duty as the leader of his home to see to the spiritual well being of his bride.

How this to be done? - with the washing of water by the word. In order words, it must be done as we are saturated with the Word of God. There is no other way.

I want to make two points regarding the latter part of this verse: with the washing of water by the word. 1. It has nothing to do with water baptism. 2. These verses cannot be used to make a doctrine for the Body of Christ being also the Bride of Christ. The words Bride of Christ are nowhere to be found in the Bible. The Bible makes it perfectly clear that the New Jerusalem which will be inhabited by Israel is the bride.

God’s Marriage to Israel

Let's take a closer look since I know that many are shocked by this bit of information.

a. God made a covenant and a promise to Israel (Genesis 22:16-18, Exodus 19:5-6; 16:8, 15, 32, 60).

b. God married himself to Israel with the covenants (Jeremiah 2:2-5, 31:31-32). 

c. Israel was unfaithful to the covenant and God divorced (Jeremiah 3:8-14, 20-22).

d. A promise of restoration after the divorce (Hosea 1:9; 2:2, 5-8; 2:11-12, 18-23). 

e. No rest until Jerusalem is established over all the earth (Isaiah 62:4-5). 

f. God is faithful to keep his covenant with Israel (Isaiah 54:4-8, 12-14).

g. The re-marriage is complete in the kingdom come: the bride is the city (Revelation 21:2; 9-21).

h. Jesus came preaching the coming kingdom: be ready, prepare (Matthew 9:15; 25:1-10).

Without Blemish

Verse 27: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. As Christ desires to present a church without blemish to the Father, so to the man should seek the same for his wife.

Trust me, a man loving his wife in this way will not have a problem with her submitting to his leadership. I have found that when I wife begins to pull away from her husband's leadership, it is because she is doubting his love for her.


Friday, June 16, 2023

Ephesians | Session 25 | 5:22-25

In our study today from Ephesians 5:22-25 we take a look at that controversial concept of submission, what it really means, why it is needed, and how God made us to fulfill different roles.

Verses 22-24: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Now he begins to show what true submission looks like practically. This submission, as with any other, is to be done as unto the Lord. I find it interesting that so many decry the plight of the woman in the West in yet they live and walk in the most free societies in history. This is because Christianity has made them equals and not property. 

Women's Liberation has gone too far in my opinion in that they are now destroying themselves. God's plan for men and women are simply different and the more we pull away from that plan, the worse it will become for all of us. 

Obviously, Paul would not have mentioned this if he had not deemed it to be an issue. Actually, it started in the Garden of Eden with Eve when she decided that God and Adam were not acting in her best interest. 

Interestingly, men are never told exclusively in Scripture to submit, but to love. Why? - I can only assume that men have problems loving and women have problems submitting. In actuality, it only works when both play their parts. Of course, that notion is not popular today and the divorce rates, broken families, and single motherhood bare this out. God has established natural order whether we like it or not, and there are consequences when it is not followed (1 Corinthians 11:3-9; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5). Any culture that rejects this will be to their own peril whether they believe it or not. 

Verse 25: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  Now Paul turns his attention to husbands where he tells them to love their wives just as Christ does the church by giving himself for it. In like manner, the husband should be willing to lay his life down for his wife.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Ephesians | Session 24 | 5:14-21

In our study today from Ephesians 5:14-21 we see Paul encouraging believers to wake up, walk carefully, and realize that the time is short and the days are evil.

Awake and Arise 
Verse 14: Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.  Who said it? - Apparently, the Lord did from the context. This must be something that Paul received by revelation because nothing is said in the Old Testament that I can find. It seems to be an encouragement to the one who is spiritually asleep. 

Verse 15: See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,  He then gives an encouragement for them to walk carefully in wisdom and not foolishness. The idea is to take special pains to guard against sins he mentioned above. 

Verse 16: Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Literally to rescue our time and not waste it. Why? - Because the days are evil and their are too many temptations around us everyday to do the opposite. In other words, we are to make the most of the time that we have and not squander it. 

Verse 17: Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.  Wherefore means "on account of this." In other words, he is still adding on form the previous verses about time and evil, i.e., wise up and see what the Lord is doing around us and not become distracted. 

Verse 18: And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  Drunkeness should be avoided, but instead we should be filled with the Holy Spirit. To be drunk goes against verse 15 regarding walking circumspectly and not as fools. Drumkeness is also addressed in Galatians 5:21; Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 23:29-33. 

Verses 19-21: Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. These verses list the things that should be the result of being filled with the Holy Spirit. They include: 1. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. The point is that being filled with the Spirit results in a desire to worship God. 2. Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. The resulting worship will come from the heart. 3. Giving thanks always. It will result in an attitude of thanks. It has been said that God has not stopped being gracious, we have just stopped being thankful. 

Lastly, Paul says something that is very controversial in our society today that balks at the idea of submission. 4. Submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of GodThe word submit means to accept or yield to a superior force or authority. It is really what I call deference. Deference refers to a certain amount of respect or esteem that we give to others. Our culture is quite honestly not very good at it today and I believe it is one of the reasons our society is failing. He will continue to build on this principal in chapter 6. 

Notice that he concludes the verse with all of these things need to be done  in the fear of the Lord. One commentator puts it this way, "a believer's continual reverence for God is the basis for his submission to other believers." Proverbs 9:10 says that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Ephesians | Session 23 | 5:5-13

In Ephesians 5:5-13 Paul continues to address how followers of Christ should walk, the vices and sins that they should stay away from, and how to respond to those who are not doing so.

No Inheritance 
Verse 5: For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Paul seems to be making a reference to verse 3. He is not questioning their salvation, but their behavior.

The verse gets a little confusing at nor covetous man, who is an idolater for me. Barnes says of this, "the covetous man bestows on money the affections due to God" and uses Colossians 3:15 where Paul said almost the same thing, Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatryThe point is that the worship of material wealth is just as idolatrous as the worship of a piece of wood or block of stone. And of course, idolaters have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of GodThe reasoning is that you either worship God or the god of this world. Jesus said that no man can serve two masters in Matthew 6:24. 

Be Not Partakers 
Verse 6-7: Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.  This verse seems to be targeted at someone specifically that was spreading this stuff. Paul has dealt with the issue before in  when he said to the Romans Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them (Romans 16:17). He wrote to Titus A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself (Titus 3:10). And finally to the Thessalonians And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15). We in the Body of Christ need to stay away from confront, rebuke, and stay away from these people. 

Sometimes in Darkness 
Verses 8-9: For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)  He now reminds them that at one time they, Gentiles, were in darkness, but no longer as they have now come to the light and need to walk as such. Notice that verse 9 is parenthetical. He seems to be referring to the fruits of the Spirit that he is going to list in Galatians 5:22-23. 

What is Acceptable 
Verse 10: Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  When we walk in the light we are proving or showing what is acceptable which are the things that are good, righteous, and true. The verse is similar to Romans 12:2 when he wrote And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Verse 11: And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.  Albert Barnes said, "Instead of fellowshipping with the darkness, we need to reprove it." This verse does not mean necessarily verbally, but with our lives and influence. That only happens as we are walking in the light. Our lives should be a standing rebuke to the sinful world around us. Paul wrote of this to the Corinthians Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). 

Done in Secret 
Verse 12: For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.  It is a shame to even talk about the things that are done in the dark. I have heard far too many testimonies that did just this. The miracle is not what He saved us from, but that he even saved us at all. 

Verse 13: But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. The things that are reproved are the works of darkness mentioned in verses 8-12. The light is whatever is used to manifest it.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Ephesians | Session 22 | 4:31-5:4

Our study today is taken from Ephesians 4:31-5:4 where Paul continues to speak of practical matters for the believer regarding how not to grieve the Holy Spirit in our relationships with others and ourselves.

Put it Away From You 
Verse 31: Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: This verse presents a bit of challenge because of the last three words, with all malace. Is he saying that the ones before it should not be done with malice or simply listing malice as another vice? Malice by definition is to do something with ill-will or with the intent to hurt the other party. Well, how can any of the afore be done without malice? (Clamour speaks of brawling). Or is it saying that the last vice of evil speaking (slander) should not be done with ill intent? Can you speak evil or slander someone without ill-intent? I don't think so. 

Even as God Hath Forgiven You 
Verse 32: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Instead, Paul says that it is better to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, and forgiving just as Christ has forgiven us. Which leads right into the next chapter.

Chapter 5 
As Dear Children 
Verse 1: Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; Paul continues to be practical. The word followers means imitators. In other words, we are to be imitators of God as dear children. Just as a child would imitate their earthly fathers, so they should imitate their heavenly Father. 

Walk in Love 
Verse 2: And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.  Notice that the believer is to walk in the love that Christ had for us. Christ is to be our standard (2 Corinthians 10:12). 

The rest of the verse demonstrates how much Christ loved us in that he and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God. We are to walk in that same love. That is a tall order for sure. 

As Becometh Saints 
Verse 3: But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;  Now he lists sins that should not be named among believers. Fornication includes all sexual sins. Other translations translate it as immorality. Uncleanness speaks of impurity. Covetousness means holding or desiring more or greed. These things should not be named among them as becometh saints. Becometh can be translated as fitting or proper. Believers should not be involved in these things, period, full stop. 

Giving of Thanks 
Verse 4: Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.  Filthiness is obscene and speaks of the portrayal of sexual matters. Foolish talking  is just silly talk or buffoonery. Jesting is turning words in a negative sense or twisting in a vulgar sense. We would call it today innuendo which is very prevalent. Not convenient simply means appropriate. In other words, we should not be doing the afore mentioned things because they are inappropriate for one who professes to believe in Christ. Instead, of doing those things, we should be giving thanks. Barnes says of this, "Instead of filthiness, foolish talk, and jesting, we should be using that time in the service of God.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Ephesians | Session 21 | 4:22-30

In our study today we find Paul continuing with practical application for the Body of Christ. This includes how we are to put off the old man that walked in his former lusts, put on the new man that walks in the Spirit, and the results that should follow.

Put Off the Old Man 
Verses 22-23: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;  His point is that the believer who has learned Christ, heard him, taught by him, and come to the understanding that the truth is in him, should live differently and not according to their own deceitful lusts (1 John 2:15-17). Notice that the lusts are deceitful because they cause us to do things that we would not otherwise do. His point is that we we should not live like we used to armed with this newfound knowledge Instead, we are to be renewed in the spirit of our minds. Why? - Because the former was corrupt. The word renewed is to be renovated or reformed (2 Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:10). 

Put On the New Man 
Verse 24: And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.  I can't help but notice that the renewing and the putting on of the new man requires action on our part. I have found that nothing in this walk merely happens by osmosis. Osmosis is the process of gradual or unconscious assimilation of ideas, knowledge, etc. Our walks with the Lord does not happen like that at all. It must be acted upon or predetermined. 

Members of One Another 
Verse 25: Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.  Wherefore means in lieu of the afore mentioned. Having put on the new man, we must put away lying, speak the truth, because we are members of one another now. To be honest, I do not see a lot of the latter today; i.e., speak the truth. 

Let Not the Sun Go Down 
Verses 26-27: Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.  This verse is not saying that we are not to be angry, but to not let it lead us into sin by letting the sun go down on it, thereby giving place to the devil in our lives. The verse follows verse 25 which spoke of speak truth to every man because we are members of one another. The point is that we are not to let our anger boil over and get worse. Instead, we are to put away lying and speak every man truth with his neighbor. 

Do That Things Which is Good 
Verse 28: Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.  Paul uses the example of thievery to make his point about the change that should have taken place in the believer. This is encouraged so that help can be extended to others instead of theft. Again, the context is the body that is fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth (verse 16). 

No Corrupt Communication 
Verse 29: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  Another example of how we as believers should act. Again, these actions do not save us, but they should be the biproduct of our salvation and our putting on the new man (verse 4:24). 

Also, our words to others should be edifying and not destructive, and I know that this can be done if we are walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and putting on the new man. 

Grieve Not the Spirit
Verse 30: And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  In 1:13, it speaks of a sealing as well. There is also a sealing mentioned in Revelation 7 that protects against physical harm. This sealing is obviously not necessarily from physical harm because it is a spiritual one and speaks of eternal security. Anyone who tells you that you can lose your salvation is not rightly dividing. You can't justify that teaching reading the Paulene epistles.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Ephesians | Session 20 | 4:12-21

Our study today is from Ephesians 4:12-21 where we see the Apostle Paul talking about the reason for the temporary ministry gifts were to bring unity into the Body of Christ until the revelation of the mystery was completed and how that it should bring not only unification, but also maturity to the Body.

Perfecting of the Saints 
Verse 12: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: The stated goal of these gifts was for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Those who hold that these were given to the Kingdom church only will use the word saints as proof. Again, the view would be that God gave these gifts to the kingdom church to lay the groundwork for the Body of Christ. I do not agree with that view. It means exactly what it says in my opinion. 

Unity of the Faith 
Verse 13: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  Again, the point of the gifts was unification of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man which would have been accomplished at the completion of the Paulene epistles which describes exactly what the new man/creature is (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:15; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10) It was only after Paul had written the last of his letters to Timothy that the Body of Christ had the completed word of God. I believe that this is what unto a perfect man is referring to. The perfect man or complete man is a mature believer who correctly understands the teaching of Scriptures, especially those written by Paul for the Body of Christ as that he was the only one who addressed the Body of Christ. 

No More Children 
Verses 14: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  As such, we be no more children, tossed to and fro and confused by every wind of false teaching that comes our way. And of course, these false teachings are brought by men who use sleight of hand and craftiness, for the purpose of deceiving the untaught. I believe in context, the men were and still are mixing Law and Grace, i.e., confusing the Body of Christ with spiritual Israel, etc. In 1 Timothy 4:1, Paul says that these men are giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. 

Truth in Love 
Verse 15: But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:  Instead, as mature believers, we should speak truth to the lies in love and continue grow in our walks and relationship with Christ who is the head of the body. Christ is the head and we are his body (Colossians 1:24). That's right, we are the Body of Christ. Many say that the Body of Christ is also the Bride of Christ. Unfortunately, those words are not even found in the Bible. 

Fitly Joined Together 
Verse 16: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. As his Body, we are fitly joined together and supported by every joint as we effectively work together, which leads to edification for everyone in love. 

Walk Not As Others 
From verses 17-32, Paul gives practical instructions regarding how believers should walk in this knowledge. 

Verse 17: This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,  Now he focuses on the believing Gentiles and warns them, in lieu of all that he has previously stated, they should not walk as other Gentiles, in the vanity of their mind. Vanity means inutility or of no use. 

Alienated From the Life of God 
And he goes on to say of the unbelieving Gentiles...
Verses 18-19: Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.  He goes on to describe these Gentiles as doing so because their understanding has been darkened, and consequently, they have been alienated from the the life of God because of their ignorance and blindness to the truth. The latter part about giving themselves over to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness is a reference to sexual sins and other vices and reminds me of what Paul spoke of in Romans 1:18-25 when he said For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  

No So Learned 
Verses 20-21: But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: He is now comparing those who are vain in their thinking (verse 17) with those who have learned Christ. The NIV translates it come to know Christ that way. In other words he is speaking to those who heard him, and have been taught by him. Of course, this today happens through the Word. As such, we know that truth is in Jesus. He said as much in John 14:6.